“We want to give those who did not get selected to walk in Bryant Park’s New York Fashion Week a chance to walk for Queens,” said Soraya Williams, model coordinator for Queens Fashion Week.
The general physical requirements for female models were 5’7, size 0 to 4, and for males, 6’0 and up with a slim build, though exceptions could be made for the right person.
“Let’s be realistic, not everyone is 5’7, size 0 to 4. There are some people, the moment they start walking, you can see they really want to be here,” said Williams. “The energy tells it all.”
Kalyea Moss, who is a size 12-14, refuses to be fazed by the pin-thin individuals who make up the majority of the modeling world.
“It’s important to have plus sized and average sized women be a part of things like this,” said Moss. “It doesn’t matter what my size is. Once the barriers are broken, my personality comes through.”
After three years as a medical receptionist, she was laid off with the onset of the recession. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, it was a blessing in disguise because it allowed her to focus on her modeling goals. Six months later, she was hired as the plus model for popular brands like Baby Phat, Roca Wear, Dereon and Apple Bottoms.
“I love the ability to be able to show art through you. It’s like I’m the canvas and I can be transformed into different things,” said Moss. “It’s never the same. Everything’s always different.”
Natasha Lambkin, 21, has dreams of becoming a famous fashion model and eventually launching a fashion clothing line. She was featured in Beyond Race Magazine and has walked in runway shows, but she took a break from modeling to finish school. She has an Associate’s degree in fashion design and is in the process of completing a Bachelor’s degree in international marketing.
“You definitely have to have a backup plan as a model. Education is a must,” said Lambkin. “This industry is very difficult. If you don’t have a thick skin, you’re not going to make it far.”
Delali Haligah, founder of Osun Designs and executive producer of Queens Fashion Week, said that the designers can request specific characteristics in their ideal models, but who gets cast is ultimately a collective decision.
“The casting call allows us to see a lot of people at once. Everyone gets their minute to shine,” she said.
She said the models don’t need to be from Queens, but they should have some kind of connection to Queens—work there, hang out there, have family there.
“We’ve gotten so many people I didn’t even realize were here—right here in Queens,” said Haligah. “A lot of people have joined because they believe in the concept. It’s going to be fabulous.”
A second casting call will be held at 37-18 Northern Blvd, Long Island City, to fill the 25-30 model spots on January 23 from 12-2pm. Casting call for designers will be from 2-4pm.
Models are asked to bring a comp card and two photos. Designers are asked to bring two samples of work they've done and a look-book.
For updates on Queens Fashion Week, which is scheduled for February 11-13, visit http://queensfashionweek.com.